Blame it on faith?

MALAYSIA has been plunged into a fiery debate after Marina Mahathir, the outspoken daughter of former PM Mahathir Mohamed, compared the condition of Muslims women in her country to that of blacks in South Africa during Apartheid. It's funny that this should come from Ms Mahathir considereing it's her father who is known as the architect of modern Malaysia and who ruled the country for over two decades. If the condition of women is far from ideal in Malaysia, her father cannot escape responsibility for it.

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Published: Mon 13 Mar 2006, 11:07 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 5:16 PM

Besides, and more importantly, if women are backward in Malaysia, it has nothing to do with their religion. As in some Arab countries, it is pre-Islamic customs and traditions, rather than religion, that are responsible for women's status. However, women in this part of the world, Far East and Southeast Asia, are far ahead of their counterparts in the rest of the world. Women of Malay race, found in the neighbouring countries such as the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, have excelled in every field. Women rub shoulders with men in every sphere of activity. The Philippines is led by a woman. Indonesia, Malaysia's Muslim neighbour, was not long ago led by a woman. Even in Malaysia, women have excelled in all areas. This is why it's so unreasonable on the part of Ms Mahathir to link Malaysian women's status to their religion. At a time when there are already enough misconceptions about Islam and Muslims, such an irresponsible remark by a Muslim woman can send a wrong message to the world. It’s unfortunate that a great faith that actually granted and recognised the just status of woman recognising her rights and which transformed her status in Arabian society should be blamed for something that has nothing to do with it.

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